Saturday, 21 October, 2017

Permutations: The results Ireland need to reach play-off (Part 2)

Republic of Ireland boss Martin O'Neill tells squad to beat Wales for Seamus Coleman It's win or bust - Scotland woe means victory will guarantee Ireland play-off spot
Spencer Simpson | 10 October, 2017, 00:30

Experienced Ireland striker Shane Long will miss his side's crucial World Cup qualifier against Wales in Cardiff on Monday due to a hip injury, the team said.

It's a huge night for the Wales national team tonight and they will need the home fans at the Cardiff City Stadium to be as rabid as ever. A win for Wales would guarantee them at least a play-off place but they also held a chance of automatic qualification if Serbia slipped up against Georgia.

It is a chance Wales boss Coleman does not want to waste as his players attempt to follow their run to the semi-finals of Euro 2016 by securing their first appearance at a World Cup for 60 years. "It wasn't really a battle where we had to properly defend and defend, we just had to make sure that we didn't give anything stupid away".

Ramsey saw a late strike drift into the arms of Randolph as Wales failed to issue a response and Ireland celebrated getting their name into the hat for next Tuesday's play-off draw. With only eight of the nine group runners-up going through to the elimination round the result in Cardiff could be pivotal for both sides. Chris Coleman will be without Gareth Bale for this match but his squad did show that it is capable of winning games without its star player in its last match against Georgia.

Prijovic struck the victor on 74 minutes in Belgrade as Serbia finished top of European qualifying Group D.

Twelve minutes into the second half of their final Group D qualifying fixture, James McClean scored the only goal of a nail-biting encounter with Wales which may not have been pretty, but it was certainly flawless for the Boys in Green.

JAMES MCCLEAN proved the man for the big occasion once again as Ireland won their Celtic play-off to set up a World Cup play-off.

Chris Coleman (Wales): "We're on risky ground if we go in with a game plan of trying to soak the pressure up for 90 minutes".

But a win for Croatia or Ukraine would scupper Wales. In four matches, Martin O'Neal's wards defeated Austria 1-0 and Moldova 3: 1, and also ended the draw with Serbia 2: 2 and Wales 0-0.

The game against Moldova was always going to be about the result only, with anything other than three points sure to end Ireland's hopes.

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